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Our blog keeps you up to date with all the latest developments in the world of social business and enterprise.

Rod Schwartz My impressions of the reports by the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force
Rod Schwartz, posted on 25.09.14

Last Monday, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Francis Maude, the Cabinet Secretary, invited guests from the social investment industry to Downing Street for the launch of the first report by the G8 Social Investment Task Force (SITF). In addition to Osborne and Maude, Sir Ronald Cohen, who is chair of the Task Force, and Nick O'Donohoe, who is chair of the UK National Advisory Board, also spoke. There are times when I believe that such reports are a complete waste of time and of trees - this was certainly not one of those times! I felt that taken as a whole this was an extraordinarily positive event; as I have begun to wade through the dozen or so documents published I am increasingly impressed with the work of the various task forces, which has been divided up by topic and by country.

Rod Schwartz How mainstream investors react to talk of social impact
Rod Schwartz, posted on 12.09.14

At  ClearlySo, we perceive ourselves as being at the outer edge of social impact investment. We are focused on the place where mainstream investment and social impact investment connect; we speak regularly to the foundations and impact investment funds that have been pioneers in the sector, but we spend a large proportion of our time working with traditional mainstream investment organisations. The reason is simple: that's where most of the money is.

Jonny Kates Education technology specialist Insane Logic receives €1 million of investment
Jonny Kates, posted on 10.09.14

Insane Logic - the award winning social enterprise behind MyChoicePad - has this week received a further €1m of investment from Ananda Ventures. This latest round of investment builds on the £250,000 that ClearlySo were able to help raise for Insane Logic last year.

Krish Ayalasomayajula The challenges and opportunities of Social Investment Tax Relief
Krish Ayalasomayajula, posted on 03.09.14

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) has recently received Royal Assent as part of the Finance Bill 2014, and looks like a promising tool for social enterprises that are planning to raise investment anytime soon. I have been fortunate to work on a possible pipeline of ventures that might benefit from SITR during my summer internship at ClearlySo.

SITR is intended to support social enterprises to raise catalytic investment at a discount by offering individual investors a tax relief on debt and equity investments. The government has been proactive in initiating this new relief scheme, which is similar to the existing tax relief schemes to encourage investments into early stage ventures like EIS, SEIS in many ways but might as well apply on debt investments making it much more appealing to investors.

Rod Schwartz A Piece to Honour Stephen Lloyd: A Great Human Being
Rod Schwartz, posted on 21.08.14

A few hours ago I received an email telling me of the passing of my dear friend and colleague Stephen Lloyd. I have no doubt that over the coming days many from the social investment sector will share their thoughts and reflections about Stephen. As I sit at my dining table thinking about him I feel unable to easily come to terms with his sudden death--to ease my pain I feel compelled to write a few words about the man I knew and my experiences of him.


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Jonny Kates In defence of the one-for-one model: why innovation doesn't matter
Jonny Kates, posted on 14.08.14

One of the things I love most about working within the social business "˜movement' (for want of a better word) is being able to learn almost daily about an innovative new enterprise that's making a real impact. As a kid, I used to watch Tomorrow's World religiously to get my weekly hit of that specific emotional feeling that washes over you when you discover something innovative. I remember one episode in particular where an inventor called Trevor Baylis revealed his windup clockwork radio to presenter Carmen Pryce (who had nothing on Philippa Forrester by the way). Pretty cool I guess - a radio without the need for batteries - but it wasn't until later in the segment when Baylis explained that villagers in Somalia were trading rice rations for radio batteries that I felt that feeling wash over me. This regular middle aged guy in a plaid shirt and chinos has invented something that will improve the world.


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Rod Schwartz Third Sector | What happens in Monaco...
Rod Schwartz, posted on 11.08.14

Every year, the global fund management industry converges on a conference called  FundForum, which bills itself as "the world's largest fund management event". Unsurprisingly, fund managers from all over the world attend, as do suppliers and others seeking to service some of the world's professionally managed trillions.

This year's event in June was held, as previously, in embarrassingly opulent Monaco - which, for many reasons, did not seem the most inviting location for someone with social impact investments to peddle. Yet I had been asked to speak on a panel about investing ethically and for social impact. That such a session took place at such an event was most surprising, and I was particularly astounded that the was quite full - and, no, I had not paid people to attend.

Clare Jones Tech-For-Good Company Fluency receives £110k social impact investment
Clare Jones, posted on 11.08.14

August has been a busy month so far for our tech entrepreneurs. In the first of a range of technology deals to be announced this month, Sinead Mac Manus has secured £110k investment into startup Fluency.  

Clare Jones The Crowdfunding Buzz and Social Impact
Clare Jones, posted on 23.07.14

A few months ago, my colleague Jonny wrote a blog about the crowdfunding honeymoon, considering the sale of Oculus Rift with nothing more than a nod for the supporters who backed them through crowdfunding. As entrepreneurs come to value more and more the crowd's potential, equity- rather than reward-based crowdfunding is growing.

Nowhere is the buzz around is more evident than in yesterday's world record; Crowdcube raised £1.2m in 16 minutes. Fundraising for their own business, they had already raised £3.8m from institutional investor Balderton Capital. 141 investors backed them - and I know many others who were disappointed they missed out on such a small window. With the backing of such an established investor, those 141 people knew the due diligence had been done, and that they wanted to be part of this crowdfunding buzz.

Josef Jelinek Successful impact investing for Family Offices - A Report
Josef Jelinek, posted on 16.07.14

I recently joined ClearlySo as an intern and wanted to find out more about impact investing. I was especially interested in finding out about where Family Offices currently fit in this nascent, but rapidly growing, market.

Colleagues had mentioned a seminal 2011 report by Uli Grabenwarter and Heinrich Liechtenstein, "In search of gamma - an unconventional perspective on impact investing". I dutifully tracked it down - not hard to do, given the fact that it always seems to pop up top when conducting online searches under impact investing headings - and wiled away the hours (and days) ploughing through it.

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